Troubleshooter: Tree contractor troubles


by Janet Roach, 13News Now

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 11:14 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH-Several people in the Lago Mar neighborhood in Virginia Beach are busy chopping trees and hauling away limbs and branches. They say they have no choice because the tree service company they hired cut and run.

Eddie Bayot's front yard is littered with tree trunks at least six inches in diameter and many small limbs and debris. He gave contractor Robert Shesler $850 to cut the trees and haul them away. Shesler did the cutting, but then wouldn’t finish the job, Bayot claims.

"Every time he comes around, he has a lot of excuses and I don't want it to be an eyesore in the neighborhood," says Bayot.

Next door, the yard is covered with debris and much larger trees that Shesler cut down. The homeowner is also waiting for the items to be removed and is growing more and more frustrated.

Around the corner on Ranchero Road, Tammy Mahoney is angry that Shesler took more than a week to return and finish the job he started at her house.

"He never calls you back and you have to keep calling him," she stated.

A few blocks away, the Kelley family had used Shesler before and so contracted with him for more work. They paid $700.00 and have been waiting for more than a week for Shesler to finish the job. During that time, the city warned them that the condition of their yard violated code and they’d have to clean it up or face a $150.00 fine.

Terry Kelley says he has no choice but to do the work himself.

"My son and I will be out chopping everything up and getting all ready to go," he said.

Shesler says he has a perfectly good explanation and had no intentions of taking the money and running.

"I got behind and had some problems. The car broke and I had problems this week,” says Shesler.

His reasons don't stop there. They also include getting bitten by a spider and bees.

During an interviewed with 13News Now, Shesler promised to complete the jobs he started. Those clients say he hasn’t returned.

Shesler was convicted in 2005 for failure to perform construction after an advance. Va. Beach police say he was paid $200 by a customer in 2004 to cut down trees but never performed the work.

Some previous customers say Shesler was good at job cutting and removing trees a few years ago when he was working with a partner. Now, no one expects to get their money back.

This is the type of case authorities warn about. According to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, tree service providers are not required to have a state license, but officials suggest hiring one who has a license because it may preserve eligibility for the recovery fund in the future. Homeowners are also advised to limit a down payment and never pay in full until you're 100 percent satisfied.

Click here to download a list of the Top 10 Tips for making sure your contractor measures up.